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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

First of Many: Lakshmi Manchu revisits Padmavyuham

This week's First of Many features Lakshmi Manchu. In the 60th edition of our exclusive series, the actor-host talks about her first film Padmavyuham.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi | December 20, 2020 4:00:02 pm
lakshmi manchu first film PadmavyuhamPadmavyuham released in 1984. (Photo: Lakshmi Manchu/Instagram and Mango Music/YouTube)

Lakshmi Manchu, who’s been part of the industry for almost two decades, has films like Gundello Godari, Chandamama Kathalu, Anaganaga O Dheerudu, W/O Ram and Kaatrin Mozhi to her credit. Lakshmi also hosted celebrity talk show Lakshmi Talk Show and appeared in episodes of American TV series like Desperate Housewives, Las Vegas and Mystery ER.

However, despite being born to actor-producer Mohan Babu, Lakshmi did not really enter the profession because of her filmy background, but because of snakes.

Here’s what the actor shared about her first film.

1. Which was your first movie? How did the project come to you?

I had just finished my UKG and was going to my first grade. It was my dad’s movie. They wanted a little girl who was comfortable with snakes. They auditioned so many girls, but they were all scared. One day, the snake charmer came home. I just went casually and picked up the snake, and everybody was shocked. They said we have the girl in the house.

2. What do you remember of your first day on set?

I remember taking a train from Chennai to Rajahmundry with the actress who was playing the lead – Prabha. There was this famous Rajahmundry bridge. So when that bridge comes, everybody goes to the window to see it. It’s just before you approach Rajahmundry. I also ran to see it, and within five seconds, a stone came and hit me on my cheek. I remember how scared Prabha aunty was. The shooting was going to start the next day, and they had to stall that schedule because I couldn’t shoot with a swollen cheek. But, then I went back to shoot for it.

I had two front teeth missing. I was too excited to have makeup on my face. I remember every time I washed my hair, they used to blow dry it. I was like ‘ah it’s so exciting.’

My dad played a dual role. I was part of the childhood episode. There was a song, scenes and crying. My sync sound was completely off. I was just so young and excited to show them that I remember it all.

3. Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?

I was like 5-6 years old. I remember how amazed everybody was that I was so comfortable with the snake. That was the first time I faced the camera. After that, for every movie that my father produced, he would have me at the end of the film after the ‘Shubham card’ happened. That’s the end card where I would come up and say thank you for watching my dad’s movie and for all your love and blessings. That happened for a few years, which was so embarrassing.

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4. How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again?

Gollapudi Maruthi Rao was a famous villain at that point. I was scared to even go close to him. Then there was my dad and Prabha aunty. Prabha aunty still talks to me about what happened then. I meet them once or twice a year. That bond is completely different.

5. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?

I would like to correct my sync sound. Other than that, I don’t think there was much that I could have done with how much I knew then. And I wish all my missing teeth were intact.

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